This is the new Mercedes-Benz E-class Coupe, the replacement for the CLK. To be unveiled at next month’s Geneva motor show and due on sale in June, the car represents a departure from its predecessor not only in name but also because it switches from a C-class platform to a modified version of the new E-class’s underpinnings.
The aim is to take the E-class Coupe upmarket, to make room at the lower end of range for the forthcoming C-class Coupe. This is expected to have a four-door layout when it arrives in 2012 as a replacement for the underachieving CLC.
In keeping with the change of name, the E-class Coupe’s exterior follows the design cues of the new E-class saloon. While the design makes the E-class Coupe more distinctive than its predecessor, it also means that it has lost some of the CLK’s elegance in the process.
The Mercedes-Benz E-class Coupe is, however, the world’s most aerodynamic road car, with a drag coefficient of 0.24; that's lower than even the new Toyota Prius.
The E-class Coupe is 46mm longer, 46mm wider but 20mm lower than the CLK, with a 45mm longer wheelbase. That means more room inside, with increased leg and shoulder room front and rear. Boot space is 450 litres, 15 litres more than the CLK.
The initial engine line-up includes three petrol units: a 204bhp turbocharged 1.8-litre four-pot in the E250 CGI, a 292bhp 3.5-litre V6 in the E350 CGI, and a 388bhp 5.5-litre V8 in the E500. They will be joined by two diesels: a 204bhp twin-turbo 2.2 in the E250 CDI and a 231bhp 3.0-litre V6 in the E350 CDI.
The two V6s, along with the E500, will get a seven-speed automatic transmission. The most economical version of the E-class Coupe is the E250 CDI, with combined consumption of 53mpg and 139g/km of CO2. By comparison, the 177bhp BMW 320d returns 59mpg and 128g/km.
The E63 AMG Coupe will arrive later this year, with a 450bhp version of AMG’s 6.2-litre V8. Also under development is the E400 Hybrid; this is rumoured to feature a new 3.5-litre V6 engine, combined with an electric motor generating around 20bhp to give a total output of 322bhp.